Back in the 1940s, Old New Castle was identified as the site for a Colonial Williamsburg-like historic village. It didn’t work out, but thanks to an aggressive program of preservation ordinances, residents still enjoy living in one of the most authentic Colonial towns in existence, an island unto itself.
It requires a unique resident, since living in historic homes can be challenging: doorways are low, staircases are narrow, ceilings are low, basements have dirt floors, and there’s no such thing as a built-in closet in un-renovated homes. That’s not to mention unique upkeep issues. In the historic district, such easy-maintenance marvels as vinyl siding are strictly prohibited. If the materials don’t fit the period, you won’t see them. You will see historically authentic materials such as brick, cedar, wood clapboard and ship lap. That means regular pointing and painting (in appropriate colors, of course).
The area offers 18th-century homes mixed with classic Victorians, more modern row homes and townhouses. Prices range from $200,000 to seven figures.
“Old New Castle is a great place to raise kids,” says resident Linda Ratchford. “We have Battery Park, plus a little park on Bull Hill. You can walk down the street and get an ice cream cone or walk to the library.”
Residents live among the town’s historic courthouse (the state’s original capitol building), beautiful Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green (with a cemetery full of Revolutionary War patriots), and the octagonal Old Library (designed by the famed Frank Furness). The Strand, a street that runs along the Delaware River shoreline, is home to the famous George Read House and museum, as well as the Gunning-Bedford house, a circa 1730 artifact.